HOW DO YOU DEFINE A FRIEND? WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE A BETTER FRIEND TO THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE?
Boy, big topic this one. There have been periods in my life that I’ve had best friends. In Kindergarten I remember a Dutch boy called Pute down the road with a gorgeous tree house and a Dad who looked like Superman. I remember an awkward Australian who couldn’t run, but whose mother baked the best brownies.
In Junior school I was surrounded by people who stole my walk-man and my money.
In Senior I played tennis with a friend called Wanderi (I cried when he went to San Francisco), stole my fathers car with a Goan called Bruce (I was in love with him and didn’t know then), kissed and lost my first girl friend (we’re still friends), and left it all behind for College.
In London I met a scrawny man, white as snow called Patrick, a witch (she flew to classes on a broomstick, I swear), called Vicky, and several, very intelligent people I shared a laboratory with.
In Graduate School I fell in love.
He’s partnered now, with a man called Adam, I, am still single.
How do I define ‘friend’. Friends are people who think you’re cool. They like to spend time with you just doing…well, doing nothing at all. Friends are people who respect you, even when you don’t respect yourself. A friend will take your phone at three in the morning and come for you without thinking twice.
Do you have friends forever? Yes but they’re not always the same ones.
There are a few (you can count them on one hand) that you grew up with, who are available now, and will be there at the end to deciede ‘who goes first’.
These are not friends. These are people you chose before you were born, people who record with you, your movement through life, as you do for them.
They are important people, but they are not friends, they are you.
There are others who WERE important through certain periods in your life and are now elsewhere, living their own.
These are friends. These are the one’s you went to movies with, listened to music with, fought with. These are the one’s your Mum cooked lunch for, your Dad knew you’d be at, if you were missing for a week, the one’s you chose Universities together.
Then there are those you loved, long before you knew what love was.
They stick in your mind, they sit in your memory preserving time for you.
There are those that you’re uncomfortable with thirty years on when, it turns out, they made more money than you ever could imagine, or became alcoholics.
Finally, there are your teachers.
Forgotten until life is almost done, these ones, whether they were your actual teachers, or just people you met along the way, people who taught you things that you are only understanding now, who you long for.
All of them, ALL of them, are friends.
Three things you can do to be a better friend to the people in your life?
Listen to them.
They need space to be heard, to say what they want and not be judged, be sure that they are understood, cry.
They need to know that your life is brighter because they’re in it, they need to have their birthdays remembered.
Depend on them.
They want to be needed. They can be helpful. They need the responsibility.
Friends, its seems, are people who become more important with age, people we cherish and miss, people who, when we’re with them, remind us that we only have only one life to live. And that God is not a monster.
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♦photos – personal & 123rf.com♦